Encourage “dialog and collaboration between all the actors involved in public life” and help to “heal divisions”, “and prevent more of them from arising”. This is Pope Francis’ message to the participants at the Chaldean Synod, received in audience in the Vatican. According to the bishop of Rome, the situation in the Middle East “is seriously compromised by terrorism’s fanatical hatred that continues to cause a significant hemorrhage of the faithful”. “This state of things – he explained – is certainly undermining the basis of the vital Christian presence in the land which witnessed the beginning of the journey of the patriarch Abraham, the voice of the prophets who encouraged Israel to hope during exile, the foundation of the first churches on the blood of so many martyrs, and testified the fullness of the Gospel, to make society grow with its own contribution, over centuries of peaceful coexistence with our brothers followers of Islam”.
Expressing the Holy See’s support and solidarity to the whole Chaldean Church, he prayed “for the Christians not to be forced to abandon Iraq and the Middle East”. “Your visit – he has observed – allows me to renew a heartfelt appeal to the international community, so that they will be able to adopt all the valid strategies in order to promote the achievement of peace in countries terribly devastated by hatred… so that the appalling tragedies inflicted by violence will give way to a climate of mutual coexistence”. Finally, he invited the bishops “to be paternal with the priests and all the consecrated people, who are your most important collaborators, and, with respect towards tradition and rules, to be welcoming toward them, benevolent and inclusive toward their needs, beginning processes which will make them increasingly more aware of the demands of their ministry in the service of the faithful”.